Ewan, Chris. The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas.

NY: St. Martin, 2010.

British crime novelist Charlie Howard is a moderately successful author, but in the real world, he’s also a talented thief and burglar, usually working on commission but sometimes for himself. His moral code is somewhat negotiable but he’s not a bad guy, really. Stealing is just what he does.

Though sometimes he’s not very smart about it. In this third in Ewan’s rather new series, Charlie has left Paris under a cloud in the company of his agent and good friend, Victoria, and after a short spell in New York he has hijacked her into a trip to Baghdad in the Desert. And they’ve hardly checked into the casino hotel of their choice when Charlie has lost his stake at poker and Victoria has been bedazzled by the hotel’s handsome headliner stage magician. Charlie becomes unreasonably miffed about this, lifts the magician’s wallet, and slips into his suite, where he gleefully cleans out the room safe in the spirit of revenge. And then he discovers the dead body of a young woman floating in the jacuzzi. Throw in a pair of dangerous casino-owning twins with juice, a show producer who wants in on the action, a head of security you don’t want to upset, a Croatian giant and his four-foot-tall friend, and a greedy croupier, and it’s all downhill from there. This caper yarn has an amazing number of twists and turns, most of which work. And one gets the impression Ewan (who lives and works tucked away on the Isle of Man) rather enjoyed his trip to Vegas to do research and collect atmosphere. This actually was the first I read in the series, and it’s the best so far. I’m a little surprised one or more of these enjoyably lighthearted action-mystery stories hasn’t been grabbed by Hollywood yet.

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Published in: on 19 January 2012 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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